The North Kansas City School Board candidates all agree: the continual climb of students enrolled in the district is a challenge.
By KATHLEEN POINTER
Special to The Star
The district works with about 18,500 students right now, but that population is expected to be more than 20,000 by the 2015-2016 school year.
At its Feb. 12 meeting, the current board of directors discussed several building options for handling a student population expected to go above current building capacity. They also continued their discussion of a possible bond/levy in April 2014.
The candidates on the April 2 also agreed that incorporating technology into classrooms and students’ learning process is an important issue as the district moves forward.
There is a one-year position open on the school board of directors. The board has six elected members.
Address: 10234 N. Harrison Court, Kansas City
Occupation: Stay-at-home parent and volunteer; formerly an industrial engineer at Hallmark Cards for seven years and Frito Lay for four years.
Education: Master’s degree in business administration from the University of Kansas; bachelor’s degree in industrial engineering from Iowa State University.
Public experience: Has been on the board for the past two years.
Website: www.dixieyoungers.com, on Facebook “Citizens for Dixie Younger for School Board”
Stances: She would like to introduce elementary-age students to the engineering field through programs such as the “Engineering is Elementary” curriculum, and would like robotics to return as an extracurricular activity. She wants the district to continue to support other science, technology, engineering and math programs such as Project Lead the Way. She said as the district’s free and reduced lunch population has jumped about 15 percent in the last eight years, and the district needs to focus on providing support and services to these kids.
Address: 5317 N. Pennsylvania Ave., Kansas City
Occupation: Attorney with Shook, Hardy and Bacon. Formerly a judicial law clerk for a state supreme court judge and a youth ministry director.
Education: Law degree from the University of Nebraska College of Law; bachelor’s degree of arts from Columbia College (Chicago).
Public experience: Member of the Oaks Homes Association Board for four years.
Stances: One of his top priorities is school safety. He wants to regularly evaluate and revise policies and procedures dealing with school security, building access, background screening and emergencies. He would encourage the district to foster partnerships with businesses and community groups so student could have access to “real-life experiences.” As the district continues to grow, Corlew said it’s time the community addresses overcrowding at several middle and elementary schools that are operating at capacity.
Mary Lee Morris
Address: 62222 N. Cypress Ave., Kansas City
Occupation: Group manager with the federal government.
Education: Master’s degree in business administration from Rockhurst University; bachelor’s degree in accounting from Rockhurst University.
Public experience: N/A
Stances: Her top three priorities would be to support strategic action plan initiatives, provide appropriate program oversight and ensure the right level of funding is used for key educational functions. She supports maximizing the current funding sources and finding new areas. Morris said the biggest challenge for the district is the increased student enrollment and using technology to improve educational outcomes.
Address: 9309 N. Harrison, Kansas City
Occupation: Stay-at-home parent and volunteer; formerly a North Kansas City School District teacher.
Education: Bachelor’s degree in elementary/kindergarten education from Louisiana College
Public experience: Parent representative for the school’s site council.
Website: On Facebook “Paula Pattillo for North Kansas City School Board”
Stances: Supports more communication between teachers and administrators about the best education methods and would encourage policies that allow teachers to select tools they use in their classrooms. She said it’s critical to listen to teachers about what works and what doesn’t in classrooms, especially when trying to prioritize what programs works best in the district.